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The Incredible Progress Being Made in Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa is the area of the African continent that lies south of the vast Sahara Desert. This region developed between 2000 and 2015: during the time of the Millennium Development Goals execution, but it’s still an area of our planet which faces many humanitarian problems ranging from high poverty rate, lack of education to global health issues.

About Sub-Saharan Africa

The extremely harsh climate of the sparsely populated Sahara causes big differences between African countries. According to the UN, the sub-Saharan region of Africa consists of all African countries that are fully or partially located south of the Sahara. This contrasts with North Africa, whose territories are part of the League of Arab states within the Arab world: Somalia, Djibouti, Comoros and Mauritania which are geographically in sub-Saharan Africa but are likewise Arab states and part of the Arab world. While sub-Saharan Africa is developing economically and making strides on social and political fronts, many inhabitants are still involved in crisis including poor living conditions. 41% of the inhabitants of sub-Saharan Africa live in extreme poverty, while 250 million Africans could face water shortage by 2020.

The Millennium Development Goals were aimed to lift people out of extreme poverty to better living standards and defined sub-Saharan Africa as one of the regions where help was needed most. Fifteen years later, Pew Research Center conducted a survey in 2015 of 9,062 people across nine sub-Saharan countries and found some hopeful and some troubling results. Many of the countries surveyed have seen some of the world’s highest economic growth rates in the past decade, which, truth be told, is a positive development. But 88% of the respondents still say that the high unemployment rate is a massive problem in their country facing especially the youth. Today, the percentage of people living on less than $1.25 a day in sub-Saharan Africa (41%) is more than twice as high as any other region in the entire world (such as Southern Asia, with 17%).

Global health
People in sub-Saharan Africa have the worst health in the world. The region carries 24 percent of the global disease burden, but only contains 11 percent of the world’s population. This shows how severe the health crisis is in this region. Africa accounts for almost half the world’s deaths of children under five, has the highest maternal mortality rate and bears a heavy toll from HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. Fortunately, strides are being made in the field of malaria and Ebola helping eradicate these killer diseases. The region currently has an undeveloped infrastructure to provide even basic health care to many of its people.

Let there be no mistake, while education in sub-Saharan Africa isn’t where it should be, enrollment increased significantly at all education levels. This can be attributed to the execution of the Millennium Development Goals. This region has demonstrated the greatest improvement in primary education enrollments compared to other regions of the world. But it still lags significantly behind other regions in terms of distance from universal education. Private schools in sub-Saharan Africa face significant development constraints due to the limited availability of funds. Many schools also require advisory services to improve their financial, managerial and administrative capabilities, and to improve operational efficiency.

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